Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 77.djvu/275

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CENTRALIZED AUTHORITY 269

later age, and must not allow the history of the first five centuries to repeat itself.

The spirit of competition has magnified out of all proportion the value of quantity instead of quality. Bigness has bred looseness of organization and aloofness of person from person and group from group. The tendency toward manifoldness has been augmented by the natural law of differentiation, of which specialization is an instance, until our institutions are atomistic. Each person has relegated to everybody else all responsibility for everything except his own little sphere of interests. This differentiation amounts in the long run to radical individualism and approximates indifferentism, the worst disease that can affect the life of higher institutions. The only excuse for the large university is that it may have a more highly organic and intense life than a smaller one can have. Growth at the expense of inner coordination, refinement of articulation and intensification of the individuality of the whole, is a disease, whether in plant, animal or institution. We have grown like a boy in his teens as fast as our health would allow. The rapid differentiation in general has naturally widened the gap between stu- dent and faculty, who are made for each other like eyes and hands. The next step, in order to get safely through our stalking educational adolescence, must be in the direction of binding up into the life of our colleges again, the personal lives of students.

5. Still another fact must be mentioned that has made of our facul- ties against their own will, ruling or governing bodies who are set off against a pack of persons supposing themselves to have antithetical interests to those of the university as an institution. Through the hasty expansion, already referred to, the machinery of the university — teaching, looking over papers, grading, giving credits, establishing standards, etc. — has grown into such proportions that there is little time and energy left for anything else. The enforced result is that the prevailing point of contact between students and instructors has come to be in terms of their proper advancement and grading in the curriculum, and what they must and must not do while resident in the institution. I appeal to those present who have spent a number of years as instructors in colleges and universities whether nine tenths of the time of the faculty meetings is not given up to such questions as marking systems, giving of grades, granting degrees, penalties for delinquencies, admission and classification of students, control of ath- letics, regulation of social affairs, and the like, which have nothing to do, except indirectly, with the inner personal life of students. From the University of Plato in Athens, Plotinus in Rome, Abelard in Paris, and the College of Mark Hopkins in America, we have traveled far. We catch glimpses in the New England days of what was called among professors, a hunger for the souls of students. Those days will never

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